In managing real-time information, a dashboard application is the perfect interface for showing a graphical or table presentation of the current status and historical trend in performance indicators. TweetDeck is hardly a rookie in the dashboard playing field.

TweetDeck a social media platform

Launched in 2008, TweetDeck is a social media management platform for handling one or more multiple Twitter accounts. The application interfaces with the Twitter API allowing the account holder to send tweets, view other Twitter user profiles, and receive tweets. TweetDeck is available on web browser, Google Chrome, desktop and mobile apps.

For first time users who wish to track the social media activity of their business, one needs to set up a Twitter account. Next, login to TweetDeck using the Twitter account. The dashboard is divided into four columns: Home, Notifications, Messages and Activity. On the leftmost side of the screen, there is a collapsible Menu with controls for customizing the dashboard. (The “New Tweet” function is on this menu too.)

Managing multiple Twitter accounts

Up to three Twitter accounts can be monitored on TweetDeck. Additional columns for Mentions, Scheduled Tweets, Notifications, Favorited Tweets, Users, and Trending topics may be added to the dashboard depending on your needs.

At the top of each column is a drop-down menu with filters for viewing specific keyword based content and users. You can filter out the words that are popular in a column, or filter a column based on hashtags. Let’s say the Twitter brand account has colleagues on Twitter who also participate in the social media management of the business. Clicking on the link “Team @[Twitter username]” enables other Twitter users to post as the Twitter brand account without sharing the brand account’s password.

How can small businesses take their brand to the next level by using Twitter?

Followers are the backbone to building a business brand on any social media channel. The Followers column is not part of the default set of columns provided by Tweetdeck. This is revealed by adding the column from the collapsible settings. The Followers column shows different content from the default Home column. (The Home column shows the Twitter accounts the owner account is following.) Followers can be tracked primarily by their number.

Direct interaction between the business owner and the customers is established by replying to the other’s Tweets as a mention of the business’s official Twitter handle. Activities on Twitter related to the small business can be further monitored by adding filters to the Twitter stream. The business owner can search for tweets relevant to his brand by turning on the filter that mentions his own Twitter handle. Name recall of the brand occurs when Tweets are shared or “retweeted” among the followers’ contacts.

A simple keyword search is a surprisingly easy way of keeping tabs on what customers are saying about the brand. And it does not necessarily have to contain the brand’s Twitter handle. Each column has a drop down menu option labeled “Content” which expands to reveal filters for keywords that should match or should be excluded from the search query.

Using hashtags

The hashtag symbol before a relevant keyword or phrase without spaces categorizes a Tweet, and allows it to be shown more easily as a search result. Alternately, clicking on a hashtagged word on the Home column shows all Tweets by followers that have that specific keyword. The use of hashtags also introduces dialogue between the business owner and his customers.

A hashtagged phrase may be created specifically for the launch of a new product. For example, a fictional clothing brand “JX” is widely spoken about among the residents of an affluent city district. JX is planning to launch their new collection during the summer fair at a public park.

This event on Twitter is hashtagged #FairinthePark2015. In the weeks that lead up to the summer fair date, JX will seed the hashtag #JXsummerCollection along with #FairinthePark2015 in the same Tweet to generate hype. These promotional tweets can also feature shortened links, teaser photos and videos related to the new collection.

The content filters can also search for common keywords and hashtags that are also used by competitor businesses. Using the previous example, let’s say that the public park is located a few blocks away from the nearest shopping mall. On Twitter, the mall is hashtagged #SouthBayMall. Twitter is currently saturated with tweets carrying the #FairinthePark2015 hashtag.

Clothing brand JX can widen its target market by generating a tweet, “This Saturday after shopping at #SouthBayMall drop by #JXsummerCollection at #FairinthePark2015”. Sounds far-fetched, but JX changed its target market in real time to include shoppers at South Bay Mall.

One very useful feature of Tweetdeck for the small business owner is the scheduled tweets function. Tweets can be timed to appear during specific peak hours. That allows the small business owner to post Tweets wherein he could garner a high probability of getting his tweets seen by his target market. It can also be used to target a market from a different timezone. The last advantage of using scheduled tweets is that it automates the menial task of posting frequently for marketing purposes. Now that is one less worry for the small business owner.

The only disadvantage is that Tweetdeck does not encompass other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, if that was a disadvantage. (Other channels also use hashtags for easier categorizing of their content stream.) Tweetdeck only monitors the Twitter social media network. A paid solution like Hootsuite would offer a more comprehensive analysis of the brand related click trends and statistics across several social networks. But as a platform for launching a starting business, Tweetdeck is straightforward, versatile introductory solution for the twitter social media marketing channel.

In summary, Tweetdeck functions well as an adept management solution for one or more Twitter accounts. The feeds, mentions, direct messages, hashtags, or specific keywords or users can be monitored in one dashboard. The dashboard can be can be customized by adding columns that filter the content stream based on the owner’s preferences. Posts can be scheduled to target peak hours for highest possible views by the followers. Is Tweetdeck free? Yes it is.

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